Using Google has started to feel worse over the last few years, as results are seemingly taken over by SEO'd content, AI-generated results, and websites with tons of affiliate links and ads. As a response to this state of affairs, a single coder has launched a new, open-source search engine in part as a response to internet’s overwhelmingly corporatized and homogenous search ecosystem. The new search engine, called Stract, is running on a server in the basement of its developer’s office, is highly customizable and, based on feedback from users in the project’s Discord, is rapidly improving.
The project grew out of founder Mikkel Denker’s master’s thesis at the Technical University of Denmark, which was focused on helping people search their own files and documents, he told me in an online chat. He is set to finish that master's next week and will then pivot his attention to Stract fulltime.
“Most of our searches go through the same handful of entities (Google, Bing, Yandex),” Denker told me. “Even other search engines such as DuckDuckGo use Bing for their results. I found it very weird that there essentially is no way to browse the web in an open manner. So that's what I am trying to build.”